Parish church of St Peter and Paul (church complex), Obrazów
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Parish church of St Peter and Paul (church complex)

Obrazów

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An excellent example of provincial ecclesiastical architecture of the Late Baroque period, notable for its admirable state of preservation.

History

Although first mentions confirming the existence of the Obrazów parish were made as early as 1326, it was only the chronicler Jan Długosz (Johannes Longinus) who made references to a wooden church which existed there somewhere around the year 1470. In 1531, the church was replaced by another building, which was likewise a wooden structure. The construction of the existing church began in 1760, with the erstwhile parish priest, rev. Antoni Potocki, providing the necessary funds. Works on the accompanying bell tower continued alongside the construction of the church, with the entire complex being completed in 1767 or thereabouts. The church was only consecrated in 1804, for reasons so far unknown. In the 20th century, the church underwent various renovation and restoration works. During the 1920s and the 1930s, the church itself was restored and a new, brick rectory building was constructed nearby. The former morgue was converted to serve as a catechetical hall, while the ravine separating the churchyard and rectory was now spanned by a new foot-bridge. During World War II, the façades of the church were damaged, with repairs being carried out after the end of the war. In the 1960s, the stone flooring was replaced with ceramic tiles. The interiors were refurbished, while the wall base received a new, stone cladding which was later removed in 2015. In 2007, the window joinery was replaced.

Description

The church complex lies on a small hill, spanning both sides of a deep loess ravine. The former church cemetery is surrounded by a perimeter wall made of stone blocks; the main gate, adorned with free-standing sculptures of the patrons of the church positioned inside vaulted apertures flanking the passage itself, forms part of the eastern section of the wall. The church itself is a brick structure and was designed as a wall-pillar church – a typical design choice for the Baroque period. The four-bay nave was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with the western bay being occupied by the vestibule and organ gallery. The nave features slightly concave, truncated corners. The eastern side of the nave is adjoined by a narrower chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination. Both the nave and the chancel are covered with low, gable roofs, with the roof of the nave being surmounted by a steeple crowned with a two-tier Baroque cupola. The façades of the church feature a tall plinth at the bottom and a profiled entablature at the top; their surfaces are partitioned with pilasters the top sections of which are enveloped by the entablature, lending it a mitred appearance. The design of the front (western) façade is quite intriguing in that the volute-shaped gable topped with a triangular pediment is separated from the lower portion of the façade by a parapet wall in the form of a blind balustrade. All windows are framed with plain, rectangular surrounds. The arcaded main entrance portal is likewise a simple, restrained design. The interiors of the church feature sail vaults supported by single and double arches in the chancel and the nave respectively. Arcaded niches with splayed reveals pierce the surfaces of the nave walls between the engaged pillars. The chancel arch wall features a pointed-arch aperture – an unexpected choice given the otherwise consistent Baroque appearance of the church. This arch may perhaps form a trace of an older church which had once stood on this site; the same could also be said of the semi-hexagonal end section of the chancel. The organ gallery is a brick structure, its balustrade following an undulating, convexo-concave outline, showing how Rococo design influences were already creeping in during that period. The main altarpiece, created before 1773, is likewise an example of the Rococo style.

The two-storey bell tower positioned in the north-western corner of the former cemetery was erected at the same time as the church itself. The brick structure, designed on a square floor plan, features slightly concave, truncated corners and is crowned with a flattened cupola. The corners at the ground-floor level are adorned with plasterwork rustication, while the upper storey is adorned with pilasters, much like the church itself.

A rather unusual feature of the complex is the modernist foot-bridge spanning the deep loess ravine, serving as the only passage between the churchyard with church and bell tower on the one side and the administrative and utility yard on the other, the latter being the site of a brick rectory erected in the 1930s.

The site is open to visitors. The interiors may be explored by prior arrangement with the parish priest.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 25-11-2015

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Obrazów, Zespół kościoła par. pw. św.św. Piotra i Pawła, Kościół, Dzwonnica (Obrazów, parish church of St Peter and St Paul (church complex), prepared by A. Adamczyk, 1991, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce, Sandomierz Branch Office.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 11, Warsaw 1962.
  • Wiśniewski J., Monografie kościołów w dekanacie sandomierskim, Radom 1915.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1760 - 1767
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Obrazów 24
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Obrazów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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